Fruits Basket 2×23 Review: “It’s Cinderella-ish”

It's Cinderella-ish Fruits Basket
MOMIJI. I CAN’T. (Image: screengrab)

“It’s Cinderella-ish” is just about the most perfect episode of any anime ever, based solely on the utter absurdity and absolute delight that was the Class 2-D play. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much during Fruits Basket. It truly was amazing.

There is just so much to love about “It’s Cinderella-ish”. I’ve been excited about this episode for weeks, and it did not disappoint. The play in itself was a thing to behold. 10/10, better than Hamilton. Kyo’s reaction when seeing Tohru in her costume, the litany of flashbulbs that went off when Yuki was lowered on stage, the audience reactions (Hanajima’s mother when she walked out on stage in that dress!)… Everything was perfection.

No, really, let’s talk about this more. Hanajima just flat out handing Kyo the glass slipper (with the chopsticks!), taking credit for the dresses, and her obsession with yakiniku. Yuki not even breaking character to point out that burning down the ballroom would be a crime. Uotani nonchalantly declaring that no wonder was Kyo still a virgin (and Hiro’s reaction!). I honestly don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at an episode of this show.

And don’t forget that Ayame designed the costumes! I can just imagine the extra care he put into Yuki’s and Tohru’s in particular. Oh, if only we had a short OVA or something that showed him making them. I would love to have seen that.

It's Cinderella-ish Fruits Basket
The most defiant way to ask someone to dance. (Image: screengrab)

Even though it was re-written to take into account the personalities of the actors, they still completely flubbed everything and basically just acted out their own lives, which made the whole thing that much more hilarious. With the kids actively contradicting the narrator despite his and Yuki’s best efforts to rein them in, everything descended into glorious, glorious chaos. 

It was eerie how closely the events of the play mirrored the real lives of its participants. Between Uotani bellowing about how much she wanted to see “him” (Kureno), enough that Momiji was able to figure it out and vow to make him a DVD of the recording, and Tohru tearfully trying to assure Kyo that she very much does care if he’s locked up for the rest of his life (although Kyo doesn’t know that she knows that), the real-life drama was almost more prominent than the on-stage drama.

I just really love Tohru and Kyo, OK? And they were just so precious in “It’s Cinderella-ish”. Oblivious pining is one of my favorite tropes in fic, but because I usually have non-canon ships, I so rarely get to see it actually happen. But here you have Kyo and Tohru, who like each other so much, and it occurs to neither of them that their feelings are returned.

Although, to be fair, Kyo has grown up detested and pushed aside and has a lot of baggage and self-esteem issues to work through. And Tohru is still dealing with repressed trauma from her parents’ deaths. So, it’s just a little understandable they’re still fumbling along, unable to believe that the other could like them like that.

It's Cinderella-ish Fruits Basket
The YEARNING. (Image: screengrab)

Something else that I love, especially in “It’s Cinderella-ish”, is how Yuki is trying to push Kyo to make a move. I don’t remember him doing that when I read the manga, but then I plowed through it and absorbed very little. Here, in his role as Fairy Godmother, he reminds Kyo that wishes will do no good and that he needs to step up and take action on his own. Kyo doesn’t seem to get it, but it’s probably more accurate he is willfully misunderstanding, so as not to get his hopes up.

Speaking of Yuki, his interactions with Kakeru continue to be fantastic. I know quite a few people in the fandom ship them, but honestly, I think their friendship is super important. With Kakeru, Yuki is voluntarily opening up to someone that isn’t Tohru or a member of his family. It would be expected if they were romantic interests, but it’s more poignant when it’s a platonic relationship. Plus, I can’t get enough of how well they bounce off of each other.

And just like last week, we get more of Yuki and Machi in “It’s Cinderella-ish” – his fervent desire to defend her from the bullies, as a victim of verbal abuse himself, and his reaction when she declares that she thinks he’s lonely even though he’s surrounded by people. Machi is one of the few people who is able to see Yuki as he is, instead of as the idealized version much of the student body sees him as. That’s extremely important for Yuki, who has spent his entire life dealing with people formulating their own opinions of him regardless of his wants or actions.

Fruits Basket
“Please, no flash photography.” (Image: screengrab)

Some other moments that I liked in “It’s Cinderella-ish” were Hanajima being so enamored of Kazuma to the point where she was nice to Kyo (and freaked him out), and Kyo casually acknowledging Kazuma as his father (and the way Kazuma softened at that). Plus, I will forever love Tohru and Kisa together, and how Kisa calls Tohru “big sister”.

And while I don’t think I can say I “liked” this moment, per se, the acknowledgment that the sexualization of women starts at a very young age – reflected in more than one adult man salivating over Kisa, who is 13 – was appreciated. It comes across as a funny moment, but I don’t think it was intended to be. Nor do I think that Haru telling Hiro that he needed to be careful as well was meant to be humorous. It is, sadly, a thing that happens.

There are only two episodes left in season 2, and I don’t know how I’ll be able to stand the hiatus. I’m much more invested in this series than I was at the end of season 1, even though it was during the first season that I binged the manga because I couldn’t wait. We’re so close to the end that I can taste it, and I know what’s coming and can’t wait to see it animated.

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.


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